Former 5th district congressman Tom Perriello
Tom Perriello, the former Democratic congressman from Virginia’s 5th district was swept into office in 2008 on a wave of anti-Bush era sentiments and defeated Franklin County’s Virgil Goode. In two short years Perriello lost reelection in the 2010 mid-term elections to Robert Hurt. He had some of the most memorable campaign ads in 2008 depicting various people attempting to pronounce his last name.
Progressive Democrats have tossed his name out for every political seat since. They clamored for him to reclaim his congressional seat, run for U.S. Senate and pushed him to run for governor in 2013. Perriello (pair-ee-EH-l0) said “Don’t hold your breath” in answer to the question by this reporter on Saturday.
Perriello is now the President and CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, an advocacy arm of the liberal think tank. According to their website the mission is: “To transform progressive ideas into policy through rapid response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing and advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders throughout the country and the world.”
He made an appearance at Roanoke’s Obama-Biden campaign headquarters to kick off a day of canvassing that was part of a sweep across the state. He said he was dedicated to his work with the Center but didn’t say that he would “never” run for political office again. “I don’t have any plans of doing that but if it comes it comes,” he said.
In rallying volunteers Saturday he characterized the presidential election as “trending in the right direction but not by much.” He said he hears the same concerns in every swing state: Medicare, Pell Grants, tax cuts for the wealthy as the middle class struggles.
He pointed to last week’s $1.5 million donation from Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson advocating for the return of former Senator George Allen to the U.S. Senate and the defeat of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine. The contribution was the largest ever received by the Independence Virginia PAC.
Adelson, Perriello said, was also Mitt Romney’s largest donor and one of the biggest beneficiaries of the outsourcing tax loophole. “Americans are a lot smarter than the media and the political pundits think,” he said. “There is only one poll that matters and that’s the poll on election day – the rest is just speculation,” said Perriello. It’s all about turnout.
Following the second and third presidential debates Perriello thought that “people started to realize that everything that sounded kind of good from Romney in the first debate was a little bit like one of those too good to be true things – the facts were called out and there wasn’t really anything there like the five different positions he has had on the auto recovery. You can’t make a game time decision and later claim you never made that decision.”
Perriello also thought that the tight race in Virginia is coming down to women voters. He pointed to Romney’s silence on the highly publicized comment by Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock during a debate question on abortion. He said that “when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” That gaff coupled with Missouri Rep. Todd Akin assertion in August that women’s bodies have ways of preventing pregnancy in cases of what he called “legitimate rape” were two examples that Perriello thought women should seriously think about. “Romney has not been able to challenge some of the worst things within his own party.”
Perriello also thought Mourdock’s TV ads depicting Romney’s endorsement could and should be taken off the air with a little pressure and willingness from Romney. “Romney could have shown leadership by doing the right thing,” said Perriello.
The bottom line said Perriello is the fact that Romney has “never wavered on the outsourcing loophole and on voucherizing Medicare costing seniors more money and ending Medicare as we know it.”